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Churches and service delivery in South Africa : the Black Charismatic Church Ministries (BCCMs), as agents for service delivery in the Eastern Cape.

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The research presented in this thesis is both a qualitative and quantitative case study of two Black Charismatic Church Ministries (BCCMs) from semi-urban areas in the Eastern Cape Province; one in uMdantsane Township in Buffalo City Municipality, East London and the other in Kwa-Magxaki Township in Nelson Mandela Metropol Municipality, Port Elizabeth. The study examines how these ministries confront the socio-economic challenges of the communities within their areas of operation. It seeks to ascertain whether or not such ministries are current and potential agents for service delivery in the Province. The ministries’ service delivery efforts are examined against the banner of civil society, as agents that can work with destitute communities, local government and other sectors of civil society for better service delivery. The study was prompted firstly by the prevalence of socio-economic challenges, related to no or poor service delivery in the Province despite government’s efforts and promises. Secondly, it was motivated by government’s call for partnerships with churches and Faith-based Organizations (FBOs) in service delivery (see page 15 Chapter 1). The study is partly ethnographic and used observation, a structured questionnaire and in-depth interviews as data collection methods. The findings suggest that while the BCCMs are willing to be agents of service delivery, their efforts are clouded by a number of challenges. Whereas a CSO is supposed to serve the society in general, the BCCMs discriminate against non-church members. As beneficiaries of service delivery, communities also are concerned that BCCMs efforts prove to be short-term rather than long term strategies for community development. Furthermore they are uninformed on partnering in service delivery. Local governments also do not have clearly defined operational procedures of this partnership. This study presents a number of recommendations: the concept of partnership with churches and FBOs in service delivery needs to be revisited with clarity. Secondly, I suggest a Community Indaba, which will be a neutral community desk of equal participation on service delivery directed at community development through combined efforts of BCCMs, Communities, Local Government and Civil Society Organizations/Non-Government Organizations (CSOs/NGOs) in the Province for better realization of BCCMs’ service delivery efforts (see page 179 Chapter 7).


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.


Pentecostal churches--Eastern Cape., Community development--Eastern Cape., Church and social problems--Eastern Cape., Religion and civil society--Eastern Cape., Municipal services--Eastern Cape., Theses--Sociology.